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Are Pregnant Women More Likely to Be Abused?

Posted by Tom Holland | Aug 26, 2022 | 0 Comments

Are Pregnant Women More Likely to Be Abused?
Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse. When your partner is hurting you, physically, emotionally, psychologically, or even financially, it can lead to greater abuse down the line. A new study shows that pregnant women are especially at risk for being abused, and that far too many pregnant or recently-pregnant women are being murdered by their spouse. This is especially true for young, black women who are already predisposed for pregnancy complications. If you are being abused, you are not alone, and there is a way out. At Holland Law LLC, we can help you in every legal way possible, including divorce, child custody orders, and restraining orders.

A study on pregnant women and domestic violence

A study published last year  by Obstetrics & Gynecology brought some disturbing statistics to light. Although some states have done smaller studies on murder rates among pregnant women, this research was done on a national level.  According to their findings, pregnant women or recently-pregnant women are twice as likely to be murdered than they are to die by “bleeding or placental disorders,” which are the two leading causes of pregnancy-related deaths.

Science reporter Nidhi Subbaraman wrote on this study, stating “becoming pregnant increases the risk of death by homicide: between the ages of 10 and 44 years, women who are pregnant or had their pregnancy end in the past year are killed at a rate 16% higher than are women who are not pregnant.”

Nurse scientist Phyllis Sharps stated that researchers have been delving into pregnancy-related homicides for more than 20 years. According to Sharps, the consensus as to why this is happening is violence from their intimate partners.

Unfortunately, South Carolina ranks in the top 10 most deadly states for women, and it ranked fifth in the United States for women murdered by men. A national statistic shows that “the number of females shot and killed by their husband or intimate acquaintance was nearly four times the total number murdered by male strangers using all weapons combined.”

The study by Obstetrics & Gynecology continues to detail that age and race play a large part in the number of pregnancy-related homicides. Younger women were shown to be at greater risk of pregnancy-related homicides, with women between the ages of 10 and 24 at the greatest risk.

Black women also show increased rates of not just pregnancy-related homicides, but pregnancy-related deaths altogether. “The team found that Black women in the United States who are pregnant or were recently pregnant have up to nearly three-fold higher risk of dying by homicide than those who are not pregnant — the highest increase reported among any racial or ethnic group.” Outside of death by homicide, black women are more than twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.

The study also notes that one of the reasons black women are seeing higher rates of homicide by an intimate partner may be due to racism that they have experienced from people in authority, and therefore are less likely to turn to the police when experiencing domestic violence.

Sharp makes a final point, and an impactful one. “There's an idea in our society that pregnancy is a happy time, but for a lot of women, that's just not true, and a lot of women are just not safe in their homes.”

What are the signs of domestic abuse?

It is important that if you (or someone you know) are in a relationship that you understand the signs of abuse. You may not even know that what you are experiencing is abuse, depending on your situation. Not all abuse is physical. Domestic violence and abuse can include:

  • Physical violence. Physical violence includes hitting, choking, biting, grabbing, shoving, restraining, burning, using a weapon, or forcing someone to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Sexual violence. This includes any unwanted sexual behavior, such as sexual assault and rape.
  • Economic abuse. This happens when one partner is financially dependent on their abusive spouse or an intimate partner, who makes it difficult or impossible for their partner to get help.
  • Psychological abuse. Psychological abuse can be achieved through intimidation, like threats of violence against you, your children, pets, or other loved ones. This can even include threats against your property.
  • Emotional abuse. No doubt a common one when it comes to domestic abuse, emotional abuse happens when the abusive partner engages in name-calling, humiliation, constant criticism, and other behavior intended to diminish or hurt you.

If you are suffering from domestic abuse, there is a way out. A family law lawyer can help. We can walk you through the divorce process so there is as little contact between you and your partner as possible. A family law lawyer can help you with child custody as well, ensuring your children do not end up having to live with an abusive parent. We can also help you secure a restraining order.

For immediate help and resources if you are experiencing domestic violence, the National Domestic Violence hotline is 800-799-7233. Their website has a variety of other tools and options.

The family law attorneys at Holland Law LLC understand the seriousness of your situation. We are experienced in domestic abuse cases, and our insight allows us to seek protections of order against your abuser. Perhaps you're going through a pregnancy, and you've noticed a change in your partner, or perhaps you've been coping with abuse for years. We want to help. Schedule an appointment with a compassionate and skilled attorney today by calling 803-219-2630 or using our contact page. We understand the life-altering and destroying impact domestic violence can have on you and your children. Our firm has offices in Fort Mill and Rock Hill, and we also serve people in York, Chester, and Lancaster.

About the Author

Tom Holland

Experienced Divorce, DUI, and Criminal Defense Attorney While I've been primarily focused on the practice of divorce and family law for the past decade, my experience as a criminal prosecutor has continued to serve my clients well. I previously served as the General Counsel for the Lancaster Cou...


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